Unity government between Hamas and Fatah to be announced by Thursday

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On Tuesday, a press conference in Gaza City revealed that rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah have agreed on and will announce the details of their unity government.

The announcement is contingent on President Mahmoud Abass’ decision on a religious affairs minister, and is expected to be delivered by Thursday.

The Fatah-dominated Palestine Liberation Organisation signed a reconciliation agreement with Hamas on 23 April, amidst failing U.S. moderated peace talks with Israel. This is after a seven year rift between the two groups, starting with the brief civil war in 2007. The stalemate was largely based on the failure to reconcile Abbas’ stance to negotiate with Israel, and the Hamas commitment to armed resistance against it.

From left, senior Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed, head of Hamas government Ismail Haniya, and senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouq at Tuesday’s press conference in Gaza City. (photo: Reuters)

Sources indicated that Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Al-Hamdallah will retain his position in the new unity government, and may also assume the post of minister of the interior. Sources have said that the current ministers of foreign affairs and finance will remain, and a list of agreed upon independent, technocratic ministers who will run government until elections are formed, thought to take place in six months’ time.

“The viewpoints of the Hamas and Fatah movements will be presented to President [Abbas] to give his final decision on the government line-up,” Fatah official Azzam Al-Ahmed said.

Ahmed also added that “contacts are ongoing with Egypt over the Rafah crossing, and there will be steps to review this after the government is formed.”